Jul 30, 2021 Letters
The self-anointed oil experts in Guyana, bolstered by a few locals who are just graduates in the field of Oil and Gas but with no proven work record in the industry, have publicly promoted a project to a non-discerning, gullible populace. Just imagine the head of the Geology and Mines Commission, with no training and experience in oil had advised the then Minister of Natural Resources in 2011, on the ramifications in a pitiful contract with a company that had never drilled for oil before.
The result of this gas to shore sojourn will most likely produce a list of questionable expenditure accompanied by disappearing money while promoting this ill-conceived and potential white elephant. Guyana has been a success story in poor economics where stealing and other forms of corruption bore enormous wealth for some.
In some countries, several oil and gas projects have been self-destructive. In less than a decade, the European Union has spent €440 million on gas pipelines that have either never been completed or are likely to fail, according to new research published on Monday (22 February). In total, nearly €5 billion in EU taxpayer money was spent since 2013 on 41 gas projects such as pipelines or import terminals known as “Projects of Common Interest” (PCIs), according to the study by Global Witness, an international NGO. Of that amount, an estimated €440 million was splashed on seven gas projects that have either failed or have been put on hold, says Global Witness. Guyanese are either reluctant or fear repercussions in expressing their trepidations on this project, and any analysis contradicting those in authority are deemed inimical and a ‘no brainer.’
In Europe, most of that sum – over €430 million – was spent on the BRUA pipeline, aimed at connecting Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria to gas reserves in the Black Sea. Research for offshore gas in the Black Sea economic zone of Bulgaria and Romania has been a hot topic in the past, but in the case of Bulgaria, work is at a complete standstill. Designed to ease Europe’s reliance on Russian gas, BRUA aims to carry 1.75 billion cubic meters of gas in its first phase, with a cost estimated at €479 million. A section of the pipeline was completed in November 2020, but it is located entirely in Romania, but it has not reached neither the Black Sea nor the country’s neighbours.
Investors are now worried that BRUA will not transport gas from the Black Sea, after Exxon – which had been leading the largest portion of the project – announced it wanted to sell its license.
HERE ARE OTHER SIX FAILED GAS PROJECTS
1. The Portugal-Spain 3rd gas interconnection (cancelled). EU subsidy: €97,359
2. The Midcat gas pipeline connecting France and Spain (cancelled). EU subsidy: €6,253,708
3. The Poland-Czech Republic gas interconnection (shelved). EU subsidy: 1,360,868
4. The Pince-Lendava-Kidričevo gas pipeline (no activity since receiving EU funding in 2014). EU subsidy: €344,500
5. The Austria-Czech Republic gas interconnector (halted). EU subsidy: €41,993
6. The Eastring gas project linking Slovakia to the Bulgarian-Turkish border via Romania and Hungary (indefinitely postponed).
In most of these projects, EXXON which was a major partner has decided to sell its share and focus primarily on Guyana. On face value and in financial terms, this should bode well for Guyana and its citizens, but it is far from the truth because of the ill-fated contract signed by the APNU+AFC government. That contract which was hidden from the public for more than a year has not only doomed the country’s development prospects but is likely to condemn its residents to a life of persistent and never-ending poverty. Therefore, we are calling on ExxonMobil to renegotiate the contract and increase the two (2) percent Royalty to at least eight (8) percent. This will allow ExxonMobil to take its knee off the necks of all Guyanese and allow them to breathe.
Leyland Chitlall Roopnaraine,
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